Dystrophy is the result of starvation of the organism, and most often affects children. It is accompanied by a loss of body weight, retarded growth, suppressed neuropsychic and physical development, reduced resistance to infection, and changes in the general reactivity of the organism.
The most frequent cause of dystrophy is improper diet. Unfavourable living conditions and failure to observe the rules of the child's personal hygiene and of the hygiene of his dwelling may also contribute to the development of dystrophy. Frequent infectious and non-infectious diseases are also an important cause of development of dystrophy in children. A particularly significant part is played by acute intestinal diseases (dyspepsias) and various infectious and parasitic diseases. Development of dystrophy is favoured by tuberculosis, rickets, sepsis, malaria and other chronic diseases which extremely emaciate the child. A dystrophic child becomes more susceptible to various diseases. The child particularly frequently develops pyodermas, pneumonia and gastrointestinal disorders. Since such children become very weak, the signs of concurrent diseases are not very clearly pronounced and are revealed with difficulty.
In children dystrophy may develop very rapidly, but it lasts very long and recovery takes place extremely slowly.